(Mis)Understanding a Monster: Dracula Retrospective #3, “Drácula” (George Melford)

(Mis)Understanding a Monster: Dracula Retrospective #3, “Drácula” (George Melford)

Film: Drácula

Dracula/Dracula Analogue Performed By: Carlos Villarías

Year: 1931

Director: George Melford

Country: United States

Character Archetype: Not Like a Regular Dad, a Cool Dad, Who Does Murders

 

 

This film is a little difficult to talk about as a stand-alone feature, because it was created specifically to be a Spanish-language version of the Tod Browning film (both were released in the same year). In the early days of sound film, it wasn’t uncommon for films to be at least partially re-shot on the same sets with the actors speaking a different language (this was even done with Fritz Lang’s M), but this is one of the rare alternate language versions of a film that’s built up a strong following in its own right. Some people even go so far as to say this film is better than the Browning film, but I prefer to think that they’re both well-executed films that play to different tastes and have different strengths.

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(Mis)Understanding a Monster: Dracula Retrospective #2, “Dracula” (Tod Browning)

(Mis)Understanding a Monster: Dracula Retrospective #2, “Dracula” (Tod Browning)

Film: Dracula

Dracula/Dracula Analogue Performed by: Bela Lugosi 

Year: 1931

Director: Tod Browning

Country: United States

Character Archetype: Horrific Propriety

 

I gave Nosferatu a lot of praise last time for its huge impact on pop culture and for the wealth of imagery that other things have borrowed from it, but if there’s anything in the Dracula canon that can give it a run for its money in that regard, it’s this film.

 

Tod Browning’s film is less of a concentrated vision than Nosferatu, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and there’s a lot of reasons for why. For one, it’s based less directly on Bram Stoker’s novel and more on a popular play written by Hamilton Deane and revised by John L. Balderston, which shuffles some of the timeline around, cuts out older characters and adds new ones. Some of these changes are pretty minor and inexplicable and didn’t survive the transition to the screen (such as switching Mina and Lucy’s names for no reason, or having Renfield survive), but other changes were significant enough (such as giving Renfield the same job as Harker, making him the first to go to Transylvania to meet the Count) that other versions have adopted them over material from the novel.

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To The Man I Loved

I had a dream I meant something to you;

I know it was a dream because of the cruelty of the awakening,

The betrayal that I felt upon opening my eyes,

The searing knifelike pain of knowing the feeling of your fingers on my spine

Was merely my brain working overtime for something it could not afford.

 

I had a dream that you memorialized me in your art;

I glowed beautifully in your gaze, danced across your visions,

Your hunger for me, nothing but me, the idea and reality of me, kept me alive,

Your belief in talents I didn’t know I possessed gave me strength,

So much I could have backflipped through time and space to please you.

 

I woke to find my body, my real body, my imperfect body as it was;

I could no longer do the things you might have asked of me.

I couldn’t think myself worthy to meet your gaze,

I wanted to fuse all my parts together to make one abstract glob of self;

Something you might look upon in admiration.

 

Your perfect boy.

“Wonder Woman,” Expectations, Critical Discourse, and the Need to Do Better

“Wonder Woman,” Expectations, Critical Discourse, and the Need to Do Better

Recently, I saw Wonder Woman, the new entry in the D.C. Expanded Universe, and a movie that literally everyone has been talking about. I really enjoyed it, especially in comparison to the DCEU’s previous films, so much so that I was worried for a moment that maybe all of my praise was coming exclusively from that. After some careful deliberation, however, I came to the conclusion that I did like Wonder Woman on its own merits. I don’t intend to write about the film itself at length (there’s tons of women out there who are covering the main talking points better than I ever could), so instead I wanted to talk about Wonder Woman in relation to something that scares me: expectations.

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